Will Social Media Kill The Search Engine?

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While most people in the U.S. still use traditional search engines such as Google to find their needs online, more users, especially younger users, are discovering websites through social networks.

According to a new study by Forrester Research, last year half of the internet users between the ages 18 to 23, and 43 percent of users ages 24-32 used social networks as their go-to internet discovery resource.

As social media and search marketing are becoming increasingly intertwined, it is important for marketers to learn the benefits of both methods. How does social media marketing compare to search marketing? Search Engine Marketing (SEM) still makes the biggest impact when it comes to lead generation. For many businesses lead generation is a top goal, and SEM is more effective at generating leads than social media. When it comes to local businesses, consumers are still more likely to rely on search engines over social media sites. In terms of visibility, SEM is what marketers rely on to get business exposure and increased ranking on search engines.

In terms of generating brand awareness and exposure, social media offers the most benefit to marketers. Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a powerful tool for marketers looking to increase their website traffic, but it can also be helpful in improving search rank by capitalizing on the recent trend toward social media optimization in search algorithms. Above all, social media is a valuable interactive marketing tool, and consumer engagement is becoming the most sought after prize in the online world.

Even though 54 percent of Americans still rely on traditional search to find the information they are looking for, this number is on the decline. As consumers are rapidly changing their behavior, marketers should not be prioritizing SEO and paid search efforts over engagement on social media.

The changes in search algorithms to incorporate social media are here to stay, it’s called social media optimization. The growing impact of social media on search rankings suggests marketers will have to embrace both SEM and SMM in order to stay ahead.